Ellen G. White Writings

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Gospel Medical Messenger

January 7, 1914

Jesus Forgives Only as We Forgive

Jesus teaches that we can receive forgiveness from God only as we forgive others. To cherish an unmerciful spirit toward others is to close the heart against the mercy of God toward us.

As if this, above all others, was the sin that His followers needed to be warned against, the one through which they were in the greatest danger of shutting from their hearts the light and love and peace of Heaven, Jesus, after completing the Lord's prayer, added, “If ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

He who is unforgiving cuts off the very channel through which alone he can receive mercy from God. We should not think that unless those who have injured us confess the wrong we are justified in withholding from them our forgiveness. It is their part, no doubt, to humble their hearts by repentance and confession; but we are to have a spirit of compassion toward those who have trespassed against us, whether or not they confess their faults. However sorely they may have wounded us, we are not to cherish our grievances, and sympathize with ourselves over our injuries; but, as we hope to be pardoned for our offences against God, we are to pardon all who have done evil to us.

The atmosphere of selfish and narrow criticism stifles the noble and generous emotions, and causes men to become self-centered judges and petty spies. The Pharisees were of this class; they came from their religious services, not humbled with a sense of their own weaknesses, not grateful for the great privilege that God had given them. They came forth filled with spiritual pride, and their theme was, “Myself, my feelings, my knowledge, my ways.” Their own attainments became the standard by which they judge others. Putting on the robes of self-dignity, they mounted the judgment seat, to criticise and condemn.

Mrs. E. G. White

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